Tag Archives for " travel insurance "

travel insurance, assurance voyage

Do I really need travel insurance?

It’s safe to say many of us are dreaming of travelling once again, whether near or far. In those dreams, our trips are flawless, with great sites, great food, great people. If all your past trips have gone smoothly, or even if you’ve had a minor health issue in a destination with accessible, affordable healthcare, you may be questioning whether you can get away without travel insurance.

While chances are your future travels will be just as smooth, seasoned travellers know not everything always goes according to plan. And as insurers, we’ve seen the costs of an accident or illness on vacation.

To help you prepare for your next trip, let’s break down what travel insurance can offer.

Emergency Health Coverage

This is the most important type of coverage you should have when travelling. Emergency out-of-country medical coverage will pay if you have an accident or unexpected illness during your trip. Healthcare costs in some countries can be staggering, including our southern neighbour where a hospital stay can be thousands of dollars per day. Another benefit that is often overlooked is support in navigating the health system in a foreign country and finding quality care quickly. This can make the difference to your health and potentially salvage your trip.  

Health Plus plans include emergency health coverage for up to 60 days per trip. Coverage includes:

  • 24/7 access to a travel assistance hotline, for help accessing safe, local medical care
  • Medical costs such as exams and hospitalization
  • Emergency medical transportation or repatriation, if necessary
  • Certain out-of-pocket expenses in the event of hospitalization (e.g.child care)
What about COVID?

At the beginning of the pandemic, many insurers limited coverage for COVID-19 related expenses in accordance with travel restrictions. Most of those limitations have since been lifted, although specific coverage will vary by insurer. Cooperators, who provide the travel insurance included in Health Plus plans cover COVID-19 while travelling. Tests required for travel purposes such as border crossing are not covered.   If you have a pre-existing condition or any chronic health issue, make sure you check your policy for any exclusions related to travel.  

Trip Cancellation, Interruption & Lost Baggage

Many people focus on these areas of coverage, because let’s face it, having to cancel or reschedule a trip or losing your belongings is disappointing, stressful, and expensive. Others take the approach, don’t travel with anything you can’t afford to lose. After all, your belongings can be replaced, your health cannot. If you do choose to purchase this type of travel insurance (it’s not included in Health Plus plans), it is important to read your policy as many have restrictions and limitations.

It’s always up to you to determine how much risk you’re willing to take. But when it comes to your health, we advise you to protect yourself when travelling. The risk to your wallet, health, and trip just isn’t worth it. Check your existing coverage to determine exactly what you’re already covered for and work with a qualified advisor to fill in any gaps.

summer health and safety

Summer Health & Safety Tips

Essential Summer Health & Safety Tips
to Make the Most of the Season  

Summer is finally in full swing. Whether you're headed to the cottage, planning a vacation, or just trying to enjoy activities or events in your hometown, it's good to keep a few summer health and safety tips in mind. 

Take care of yourself   

Of course you already know you should use sunscreen. But it's not only the SPF factor you should pay attention to.  Make sure your sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays and is water resistant. Apply evenly to all exposed skin and reapply regularly. If you want to try natural or mineral sunscreen look for the ingredients titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. 

Use insect repellant. Bug bites can lead to much worse than an annoying itch. This year, there are warnings about the increased risk of Lyme disease, which is carried by ticks. Learn more about how to recognize ticks and prevent infection here. And while mosquitos at the cottage might be legendary, remember there's just as big a risk from mosquitos in small amounts of standing water and from ticks in the park or on the beach. Cover up, spray well before going out and check your body and clothes when you come inside. 

When it comes to repellants, conventional chemical skin repellants DEET and Picaridin are both highly effective at repelling mosquitos, ticks and flies for up to 12 hours. If you’d prefer to use a natural formula, lemon eucalyptus oil and IR3535, a plant-based compound, have both been found to be almost as effective against mosquitos. Other natural oils such as citronella, tea tree, rosemary, eucalyptus, geranium, cedarwood, and lemongrass can be used to make a DIY repellant. But be aware, these are less effective and require reapplication every 30-60 minutes. 

Stay hydrated … and not just with beer or cocktails, as refreshing as they might be.  Drinking water and plenty of it, is especially important in hot, sticky weather.  Dehydration, heat stress and stroke can be deadly.  Make sure you get your 8 glasses (2 litres) every day.  Experts recommend water every 20 minutes when it’s extremely hot or you’re engaged in sports or other physical activity.  And make sure the people around you, especially children and the elderly, are drinking enough water too.  If you are relaxing with a cocktail try alternating a glass of water with a top up. 

Take care of others ... on the road and in the water

Take extra care when you're driving. There are often more distractions this time of year - more people on the roads, biking and playing, more tourists and more construction. If you're biking, running, or walking remember the rules of the road apply to you too. Pay attention to signals, signs and use lights at night. 

If you're heading to the cottage, pool or beach follow water-safety precautions and be smart when you swim, surf and boat. Don't get behind the wheel or in the water impaired. Don't assume your guests have the same skills or good habits as you and your family. Take time to make sure everyone is comfortable and equipped. 

Run Away

We’re not kidding.  Find time to step back, slow down and relax.  Research shows people who take vacations have fewer heart attacks, headaches and backaches. They go back to work more energized and productive with a positive attitude that rubs off on the people around them, including clients.  

Whether you're simply taking a weekend staycation or a longer trip make sure you actually "unplug", take yourself off "on call" and escape work for a little while. And if you are travelling out of the country, make sure you have travel insurance. Nothing ruins a vacation like an unexpected injury or illness, followed by a whopping bill. If you have Health Plus you have 30 days emergency health coverage included in your plan. If you have any questions about your coverage or want to sign up give us a call

From our team to yours have a fun and safe rest of your summer! 

personal insurance, health insurance

Personal Insurance 101

Personal Insurance 101 ... what to know and where to start 

Let's face it, learning about insurance is no one's idea of light weekend reading. But it is important to understand what you have, what you need, and what's out there to consider. There are a myriad of different types of insurance, covering everything from natural disasters to Great Aunt Mable's pearls. For now, let’s stick to the basics of health and life. Here's a breakdown of five types of personal insurance you should consider as part of a smart financial plan.

health insurance

Health insurance

First up, health insurance, which covers some or all of your medical bills if you're injured or ill. Think of how important your health is to your work, your personal life, your family. Think of how pricey even routine health expenses can be, let alone nasty surprises.

In Canada, health insurance is split between the province and private insurers. Most of you know that in Ontario, residents are covered by OHIP (the Ontario Health Insurance Plan), but OHIP’s limitations often come as a surprise. While it’s great news for families that the government recently expanded OHIP to cover some prescription drugs for children, for most adults coverage is limited to visits to the doctor, some diagnostic tests, and in-hospital stays. You’re on the hook for everything else.

For this reason 24 million Canadians have opted to buy additional health insurance through private insurers. These plans cover basics like dental and vision care and routine prescription drugs. They also protect you in case of more serious accident or injury that can involve big, unmanageable bills.

Group vs. Individual Health Plans

The holy grail of health insurance is a good group benefits plan through an employer. Count yourself lucky if you have one of these. Good benefits are a huge draw to employees because the employer is required to pay at least part of the cost and all full-time employees are eligible, regardless of pre-existing health conditions.

However, if your company doesn't offer benefits, you still have options. Individual health plans such as Health Plus are available. Just make sure you look past the ads. While you obviously want a good price,  make sure you also consider the coverage maximums and limits for the services that are important to you. Some plans look good on the surface but coverage is actually quite inadequate and their rates keep going up. Look for a plan that balances good coverage and stable, reasonable rates.

Marketing of Health Spending Accounts is also on the rise. These are usually pitched as an alternative to group insurance for small business because they provide reimbursement for a wide variety of health expenses to a predetermined amount (e.g $1000-$2500). Employees/employers pay into an account to cover the claims. The flexibility of HSAs for routine expenses can be appealing but the biggest pitfall? They aren't insurance. If you're faced with a serious medical issue, they don't measure up. 

life insurance

Life insurance pays a tax-free lump sum of money to family or other beneficiaries named in your policy. It can protect your loved ones in the event of your death by providing money to pay funeral costs, debts, or simply to continue paying everyday expenses. Policies are available as term life insurance, which covers you for a specific time period, or permanent life insurance, which as the name suggests, covers you as long as the premiums are paid. Permanent life insurance may also accumulate cash value you can use, should you live to a ripe old age or want the money sooner.

disability insurance

If you become sick or injured and unable to work, disability insurance provides a monthly tax-free payment to replace some of your lost income. Not only can health bills take a toll but so can everyday expenses. Disability insurance helps you maintain your standard of living, even if you’re ability to work has changed.

critical illness insurance

Different than disability insurance, critical illness insurance provides a tax-free lump sum payment if you’re diagnosed with a serious illness such as cancer, heart attack, or stroke. The money is yours to use as you see fit, whether that’s on additional medical treatment or supplies, living expenses, household help, or even a vacation.

long term care insurance

Long term care insurance pays cash to help cover the costs of care in your home or a healthcare facility. Anyone who has helped care for an aging or disabled relative will know good care can be expensive and sometimes too hard to find. Canada's aging population, with seniors making up 15% and projected to rise to 25% within the next 20 years, makes having a plan in place all the more important. With this strain on the system, insurance gives you more control and choice in where and how you live.  

Travel insurance

Although it's not exactly in the same category of benefits, travel insurance gets an honourable mention as sixth on our list because it can be confusing to sort out. It’s also part of smart planning. When looking it's especially important to be clear on what you need and what a plan covers. Out-of- Canada emergency health coverage, a very good idea to protect yourself in case of illness or injury while you’re away, is included in some but not all health insurance plans. And some plans limit the activities covered. Additional travel insurance is also available to cover risks such as trip cancellation, delay, or lost baggage. All of these mishaps can put a serious damper on an otherwise great trip so why not plan ahead. 

So that’s the list of personal insurance to help protect your cash now and for the long run. And that’s not just our view. In a recent Globe and Mail article "Forget falling stock markets. These are the things in life you really should be worried about" Rob Carrick includes insurance as part of sound money management.